Niki Kittur- Combining Minds: Coordination and Social Sensemaking

The amount of information available to individuals today is enormous and rapidly increasing. Continued progress in science, education, and technology is fundamentally dependent on making sense of and finding insights in overwhelming amounts of data. However, human cognition, while unparalleled at discovering patterns and linking seemingly-disparate concepts, is also limited in the amount of information it can process at once. One promising solution to this problem is through social collaboration, in which groups of individuals work together to produce knowledge and solve problems that exceed any individual's cognitive capacity. In this talk I describe a series of studies examining the importance of coordination in harnessing the power of the crowds for complex information processing tasks in Wikipedia and beyond. I also present research into visualization and machine learning tools aimed at increasing the effectiveness of these systems. Finally, I discuss early forays into extending social collaboration to support insight and discovery.